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The War Room With Jennifer Granholm

News/Business. (2012) (CC) (Stereo)

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Michigan 19, Jennifer 17, Us 11, California 7, Michael Moore 7, Brooklyn 4, Roger 4, Behar 3, Flint 3, Detroit 3, Berry 3, Vo 2, Niger Delta 2, Jon Stewart 2, Sandy 2, Jennifer Granholm 2, U.s. 2, New Maine 2, Sandwiches 2, Washington 2,
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  Current    The War Room With Jennifer Granholm    News/Business.   
   (2012)  (CC) (Stereo)  

    December 12, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00am PST  

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to export crude oil from the niger delta. i think the niger delta will soon descend into a full-blown war, which will last several years." >> jennifer: i'm jennifer granholm. tonight in "the war room," michael moore and i are going to discuss how shady billionaires and spineless politicians are ruining the state we both love. you may have the kids leave the room for this one. [♪ theme music ♪]
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>> jennifer: let's start tonight in flint, michigan. the city about an hour north of detroit. this is my map of michigan and it's a place with a long list of dubious distinctions. it has the highest crime rate of any michigan city the highest number of abandoned properties in the nation and last year it was the number one most violent city in the country. it also is one of the poorest cities. compare that to michigan overall which is at 16%, the 14% is the national figure. it is a sad picture, even more so because of flint's history as the center of the american manufacturing industry. it's the birthplace of this country's labor movement. in 1960 flint was michigan's
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second largest city 200,000 people. it also had a vibrant middle class, it's public school system was a model for the nation and that was due in large part to the strength of its labor unions and the large number of manufacturing workers living in flint. they took over a factory and they didn't leave until they reached a deal with management. workers occupied several general motor's plants. not for a day, a week but for month -- actually for longer than a month for 40-consecutive days and it worked. they got bargaining rights, and 40-hour workweek and a minimum
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wage. they had 100,000 people turned out in detroit to show their support for the striking workers in flint, 100,000 people. and yesterday 12,000 people turned out in lancing, michigan to protest against the state's new right to work law. it's a devastating blow to the heart of organized labor in this country, and perhaps no one knows more about than that that garl dean blankinship. >> my father called home one night, he was working on the second shift. he said we're on strike. it's a sitdown. i'll be home when it is over.
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and he was, 44 days later. let's not let the beatings that they took and everything else they did go to waste. >> thank you! >> jennifer: i'm so pleased to welcome a son of flint into "the war room." filmmaker michael moore, his 1983 documentary roger and me commemorated the rise and fall of flint. michael, thanks so much for being here. >> well thank you very much for having me on and thank you for all of the years that you gave to michigan to make things better. it -- just listening to your introduction of the segment now was -- was difficult to listen to. what i know to be the truth, i still live in michigan so i'm
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very familiar with flint and -- and how desperate the situation is there. my uncle was in that sitdown strike in 1936/37, and i -- i think -- i don't know it's -- it's -- anybody watching this right now who went to college or got to put their child through college or anybody who's living in a house, got a roof over your head got three square meals a day, don't have to work this sunday got the day off, that was all because of what happened with that strike in flint. that kicked it all off. that ignited the modern day labor movement and moore importantly as you said it really began -- the modern
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middle class began right there with that strike. the middle class was born in flint, michigan and -- and because of that -- because of their striking and because of the union, people who here to for had not ever thought about going to college, or owning their own home or owning a means of transportation, or being able to have a couple of days off, or see a doctor when they got sick all of that came from what my uncle and that woman's father and that woman herself did from 75 years ago this year and -- i -- jennifer i -- this is -- this is the first show i have been on this week. i -- i have not wanted to go on any shows, because i -- i have actually been just too upset,
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and too angry at what took place in michigan over the last five or six days. i -- i want to make it really -- i -- i'm sure your viewers, most of them know what is going on but this right to work -- so-called right to work -- you know i love how -- i love how the republican party comes up with these ore wellian terms. my favorite one has always been right to life. they didn't give a damn about life. once that baby is own, it's like you are on your own kid. >> jennifer: yeah pro-birth. >> yeah. yeah. so i've been -- i -- i -- the fact that these republicans did, when a number of them were defeated last month -- >> jennifer: right. >> -- and they know the new legislature is coming in on january 1st with enough democrats and enough moderate
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sane republicans who have a majority and would defeat this who would never even propose it and they think they can get away with this. the people spoke five weeks ago, and now -- and now they think they can just say to hell with you, we're going to undo 70 years of labor history. >> jennifer: i totally feel what you are feeling, because it is very deep. it's a very deep thing. you know, just even thinking about flint, it's population is half of what it was in its heyday, and general motors went from employing 80,000 residents to just under 8,000, and when you did roger and me which was really a love story about flint, and you told this story, you know although it was in 1989 and flint still even had some auto manufacturing then --
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>> 50,000 jobs 50,000 in '89. >> jennifer: and now it's under 8,000. how does it feel -- you were the canary in the coal mine. you were a seer about what was going to happen -- >> so what? >> jennifer: but it's important to be a voice. >> right. so i was a voice and i made a great movie, and i -- and -- it had the largest box office ever in the history of documentary film and flint went right down the drain. so while i'm very proud of that movie, i tried to tell people in michigan, some -- almost 25 years ago, that this was going to happen and it was like banging my head against the wall. i remember i used to go down to the flint city council meetings and i would -- i would just have one or two friends with me
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trying to tell them look general motors has a master plan, and that plan is to move as much production out of here and take it to mexico and other countries, and you guys have got to get it with here, because this is a one-industry town and if this goes we all go. and instead i was attacked by a number of people. why did you make that film and make flint look bad? well i'm just showing what general motors has done to flint. and at that time remember in 1989, we had only lost 30,000 jobs, only lost -- we still had 50,000 jobs. and you came in and very heroically tried to put your finger in a number of the dikes that were springing all of this water, but it was a flood --
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>> jennifer: it was a flood, but the problem is right, that we got now -- we now potentially have an administration in washington that cares about keeping manufacturing jobs in the united states. but prior to that under the bush administration, and the hands off posture the u.s. has taken, there is no way we're going to be able to keep those good-paying middle class jobs in america. you need to have an active government to enable us to do that. >> yes, we lost all of those years. you had the unfortunate job of being the governor of michigan while george w. bush was president. but the bush plan was part and parcel to what we're seeing now. and actually before bush it happened to the governor before you who was there for -- i don't know how long? 12 years?
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>> jennifer: yeah. >> but this really started with ronald reagan, when he fired the air traffic controllers. and maybe we can talk about this in the next segment, because i would like to offer some constructive criticism of what we need to do now. >> jennifer: yes i totally want to do that. but i just want to ask you a question, though because i know you said that you were done making movies but i -- i -- i reject that because even though you think that you were banging your head against the wall with roger and me if you leave the -- the communication channels to only fox news and those, there will be no voice for the other side so i want you to do a sequel to roger and me. [ laughter ] >> yeah, i'm really only one person -- and the key word there is person. i'm a human being, and you can
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just -- i'm not giving up. believe me. i have plans. i will make more movies. i'm writing another book. i am not going anywhere. >> jennifer: oh good. >> but i -- but i have to say that, you know, each of these films i make i tried to warn people with bowling for columbine that this gun thing is going to grow and grow and grow and now there are mass shootings every other week so i do that and i made fahrenheit 9/11 so point out in the first year of the war we were being lied to about these weapons of mass destruction, and i was alone on this. people forget this. people have voted for that war, and people who were for it the liberal new yorker magazine bill keller the editor of the
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"new york times" was for the war, al franken was for the war. i think i was like 26 democratic senator voted for the war. talk about when you try to do this stuff and you are attacked by your own people who are telling you, no we must go to war, i just -- i'm -- i'm fed up -- i'm not giving up but i am -- i am committed to seeing a change, and not just making movies just for the sake of making another movie so people can do something for a couple of hours. >> jennifer: all right. stay right there, because i'm glad to hear you say you are not giving up even though i know for a fact it is really hard being constantly attacked. but i want you to stay there, because i want to leave this
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♪ >> jennifer: we're going back with our conversation with
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michael moore in just one second, but if anybody questions how important unions are to creating a vibrant middle class, take a look at this. as union membership has declined so have wages overall, and this is exactly what michael moore was saying but now with michigan, the birthplace of the labor movement becoming the 24th state to pass this anti-union law, unions are weaker than ever. and perhaps nobody is more pleased than the billionaire funders behind those laws. at the state level they are more insidious and stronger than ever. don't take it from me. sheldon adleson told the wall street journal today, quote . . . >> jennifer: in the long run. and he is putting his money where his mouth is. not only did he give $150 million to republican
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candidates in the last election but we also gave $15 million to the right-wing advocacy group americans for prosperity. truth for profit would call that billionaires for prosperity. of course they wouldn't call it that, but that group, americans for prosperity which actually had a tent set up on the lawn at the capitol building in lancing yesterday, it's part of a coordinated strategy to pass these laws at the state level. they have offices in michigan and 34 other states and they are pushing policies that come from groups like these. think tanks funded by conservative billionaires like adelson, and the koch brothers. there are scores of them. all over the country, and the
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ideas that they come up with get full-throated backing from media outleting like fox news and the dredge report and then those ideas get turned into laws using model legislation like we saw yesterday, the michigan right to work act, and alec right to work act, that's the american legislative exchange council, and in michigan respect lawmakers lifted from alec suggested union busting law word for word. these guys have the funding, the infrastructure, the message, the media, the boots on the ground and they are out to decimate progressive political power centers which are the unions. so back with me now, is michael moore. thanks again for sticking around. i just want to get your take on this because we have seen these billionaires infiltrate at the state level in sort of an under
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the radar way and getting these small victories which are not so small when they add up. what can every day citizens do to be able to push back on this? >> hum. yes. mr. adelson and these billionaires have declared war on the middle class, on the average american worker. they are out to destroy the lives of tens of millions of people. they don't give a rat's ass about any of this. so unless we get up off of the couch, and get active and get involved, they will win. now here's -- here's the good news. the reason why they have got to push this through in a lame duck session is because they know the they don't have the majority of
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michiganers with them. you don't try to suppress the vote if you think the majority of the vote is with you. if they thought was was a conservative country, they would be doing the opposite. but they know their days are over. from gay marriage to now the majority of the american public believes that people should be able to marry the person they love and you have seen demographic stuff with the young voters. they are like two-thirds or three-quarters for all of these liberal things they are for unions. they are for all of this stuff. i'm very optimistic about the future, young people adelsons and all of those people are gone. if you were 55 or 60 years old
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in 1980 when reagan ran. you are dead now. my dad is 91. i love old people. but i'm saying that the previous generations which were willing to live under segregation, with women making a third less than men. they were willing to live with all of this stuff. they wanted gays in the closet. their way is over. here is what i want to say. on the union level, unions have got to start organizing the unorganized. too many years were spent just focusing on their own numbers. that's why you know this in michigan there's this weird divide between union members and non-union members.
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the non-union members are making less but they don't see when the unions do well they do well. european unions after world war ii, here is what they did differently. they decided not to just work for their own members. they wanted societal change so the reason why you have universal free healthcare throughout all of europe is because the european unions in the 40s said we don't want this just for our members, we want this for everybody. everybody has got to have -- >> jennifer: which is really the history of the u.s. labor movement was too. that's what those laws were in the 20s and 30s to provide universal 40-hour workweek and we don't have child labor laws. that's true. i would say unions have an opportunity globally especially in countries that are now growing, like china to be able
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to level the playing field a little bit. but in addition to unions organizing the unorganized, what about people who are not in a union who are watching this and feel discouraged, like you feel in a way, but what can we do to push back against that? >> yeah i hope i don't sound too discouraged, i'm just mad -- >> jennifer: you are revving up so you are starting to sound better. >> well it was just heart breaking listening to your description of what happened to my town sitting here. but listen if you are watching this at home and you are discouraged and you are feeling we just reelected barack obama, what the heck is going on? you have to get involved yourself. go down and join your local democratic party in your county or town. i can guarantee you if you show up at next month's meeting of the county or town democrats,
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there won't be ten people there. bring ten of your friends and you will become your county's democratic party. >> jennifer: and a lot of them will be old people and they will be so happy to see young people coming in too. >> yes, they will. we moved up north to [ inaudible ] county, and when we moved up there, back in the early part of the last decade there was a total of four dues paying members of the democratic party in northern michigan so my wife and i went to work on this and within a year we had almost 300 members of the dues paying party. so you can make this happen. we hold the power -- >> jennifer: i got to inject something, though. because in antrum county in
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northern michigan it is a conservative area and michael and his wife kathleen have come in and invigorated the democrats and the community. you have ingig rated traverse city. you have renovated the theater. so the lesson is even if you are in a conservativish area you can invigorate your democratic party. even if you are seen as a lefty like michael moore. >> actually that has been my experience. i live in a republican county. the county did not vote for you. they voted for bush. they voted for mccain, and last year their -- their businessman's association gave me -- or two year's ago, their man of the year award, for reopening the theater -- but there is not a day that goes by in northern michigan where some republican doesn't shake my hand
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and thank me for being here. but you are right, and i think that's because -- look as americans whether you are conservative or liberal, we have more in common than not, and if we start focusing on those things that we have in common and fight for those things it doesn't matter how many billions we have we have got the votes. and they don't buy those votes one the curtain closes in the booth. i wrote your friend a letter today, and i said mark we have got to start recruiting candidates today for 2014. we were a bit -- asleep at the wheel in 2010. you're two terms were up and i think a lot of us -- we didn't go out there in the way he should have and we have got to start tonight. we have got to start running candidates that are going to win, and we have to run a governor candidate who is going to win you know.
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i don't care if we are running a detroit red wing who is our arnold schwarzenegger in michigan on the democratic side? who is our bill millton the great republican governor we used to have. these people exist in the state of michigan, and they have to run for office and we have got to get behind them and get our state capitol back in the hands of michigan. >> jennifer: all right. you heard it here people. film filmmaker michael moore thank you so much for joining us. up next some say as califififififififififififififififififififififififififififififif
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we the taxpayers have spoken! we have made clear our goals! now we are watching you! it is your responsibility to make proposition 13 work. >> jennifer: republicans cheered when californians in 1978 approved proposition 13. it capped property taxes and required a two-thirds vote in the legislature to pass any future tax increases. but prop 13 turned out to be anything but the panacea that its proponents promised. california once ranked 7th, has now dropped to 35th. it has the highest debt and
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lowest credit rating of any state in the country. this can be blamed in part on proposition 13. but californians had a little bit of an awaking this year and they voted for proposition 30 which temporarily raises income taxes for the wealthy and sales taxes for everyone with rev views going towards education, and now there is word that the state is expected to have a billion dollars surplus, california, in 2014! when they had a $42 billion deficit in january 2009. they are going to have a billion dollars surplus. maybe congressional republicans dealing with the fiscal cliff should take note. coming to us from sacramento is the former california state treasurer that lead the commission that was tasked with figuring out the financial meltdown.
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welcome inside "the war room." >> good to be with you. >> jennifer: all right. what do you credit the expected surplus to? growing economy? prop 30? what is it? >> the economy is beginning to inch back in california but prop 30 obviously had a huge impact. what has been happening in california now for many years is the tide has turned away from the jarvis stage. local tax and bond measures have been passing all over the state where local leaders have had the courage to go to their residents and make the case for better schools, transportation, and public safety. 70% of the school bond measures which are increases in local property taxes passed. 80% in 2012. this has been going on for more than a decade and part of the reason i think we haven't seen it at the state or national level, is leaders had been timid
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to make the ask, and after many years of not doing so and sending the state deeper into debt leaders made the ask. and it wasn't just prop 30 it was prop 39 that closed a tax loophole that gov northern schwarzenegger put in place. so the tide has been turning for quite sometime. >> jennifer: it's interesting that at the local level, people have rejected that austerity program and decided they do want to fund their schools, but there is a group with ties to the koch brothers who spent $11 million opposing prop 30 for example? are you surprised it passed with that kind of fire power? >> i ran for governor in 2006 as
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we were on the verge of going into the financial downward spiral, in which i made the case that we really did have to restore the reagan/wilson tax rates on the state, they were the ones who increased those taxes back in the 60s, 80s, and early 90s to balance the budget and have better schools. but the case was not made to the voters. local leaders said look if you are willing to pay a little more you can get better schools in your neighborhood. i always think it's easier to make the case at though local level. we ought to empower local communities by majority vote but i think -- jennifer i want to say one thing what has been striking about the fiscal cliff debate in washington is it is still on the turf of the right-wing, the deficit cutters, what we really need is a debate
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about how we create investments -- the incentives for job growth. we still have the lowest level of wages to gdp since the great depression. unless we have a jobs program, energy efficiencies investments in improving our electrical grid, unless we put people to work in this country, we are not ever going to close the deficit. i would say let's raise those income taxes on the highest earners, but couple it with a jobs program. >> jennifer: which is what he has tried to do by insisting on a $50 million surplus for infrastructure. fiscal cliff discussions are obviously continuing and the white house has lowered the amount of new revenue it is seeking from $1.6 trillion to $1.4 trillion. i want to have you listen to a sound bite from speaker boehner.
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>> listen we have been reasonable and responsible in our approach to this and we're going to continue to do that. it's time for the president to do his part. >> jennifer: i don't know if you can hear that. >> i heard it. but very quickly, we got here because of two massive tax cuts two unpaid for wars and financial recklessness on wall street and deregulation. we need to restore those upper income brackets and have an investment program to put people back to work. the fed recognizes this. and as someone in business for me the issue is not whether i'll pay 35 or 39% next year it is whether people will have the incomes to buy the products and services we want to produce in the economy. that's where the focus ought to be. >> jennifer: all right. he is the guy that knows about california and the nation former california state treasurer, and up next i don't know about you,
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but i
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>> jennifer: we're back in "the war room," i'm jennifer granholm. we have been searching for a well-constructed argument that puts a button on this right to work michigan debacle, and we found it in the daily show's jon stewart who expertly channelled eminem. ♪ to the chinese kids with the tiny hands the work will go ♪ >> jennifer: from the very talented john stewart to the
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very talented joy behar. they have assembled a who is who of comedic power. it will air friday at 8:00 eastern, the show will raise money for those hit hardest by hurricane sandy. and now i'm so pleased to welcome joy behar from new york into "the war room." >> hi, jennifer, how are you tonight? >> jennifer: i'm great. how did you come up with the idea for this benefit? >> well you know, we're new yorkers. this tri-state area got hit, and we thought we would lend a hand. i know people who have taken in borders because their houses were underwater or had no electricity, and so we thought it would be a nice thing to do because we're here. >> jennifer: we have a clip of the show. let's take a quick look.
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>> you know, when i was growing up in brooklyn? [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> i would come home from school, and my mother would make blue berry pie. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> and i would sneak some of the pie. she would say did you sneak the pie? and i said no i didn't sneak the pie, but i had blue berry all over my face. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> that's how i feel about republicans. oh, no we can't wreck the economy, but they got blue berry all over their face. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: that's awesome. was it hard to get so many great comics to participate so quickly, really? >> well i know a lot of these people. for the past 30 years we have been working at being hand-up comics. a lot of us started back in the day. i picked up the phone, not one
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person said no jon stewart, denis leary, susie essman, daryle hammond -- a lot of people just said yes, and i thought it was a great thing they did. >> jennifer: a totally great thing. you have a great big heart. i really appreciate you coming on to tell our current viewers about it. joy behar host of current tv's say anything. and you can catch her comics with benefits show with friday night at 9:00 eastern. coming up next it's a has beenby for some and obsession for othersrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrsrs
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>> jennifer: earlier this week
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i spoke to a director and one of the participates of a documentary called brooklyn castle. part of our series on movies that matter. >> it started with a little group of kids and we decided we would take a try going to the nationals because it would be a great experience and then we won, and won again, this goes on for ten years. we're still winning. >> jennifer: that a clip from brooklyn castle, with which is a documentary about a public middle school which has won more national chest championships than any other in the country. the chess club is a potential ticket out of a tough neighborhood where 70% of the
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students come from familiar list below the poverty line. the filmmaker chronicled the personal challenges, but the biggest obstacle turned out to be the recession which threatened the funding for the chess program itself. with it seems to me the director and one of the stars of brooklyn castle. so glad to have you guys on. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> jennifer: so katy let me start with you, your documentary focuses on five students on the chess team. i want to take a look at one of the clips. >> when i was younger i was a pretty bad kid, and i was always suspended a lot. if i didn't have chess i wouldn't be talking to you right now, to be honest. >> jennifer: how does competing in chess translate to future
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success for these kids? >> well that was the question i had when i discovered the chess program. i wanted to know what it was about chess that could translate into real life and i think that there's a lot of benefits to chess that i found in making this film, but the one that stands out the most for me was the critical thinking about the strategy that it in parts on kids. at such a young age to be able to be really self reflective about problems like really concrete problems on the chess board, be able to understand how your brain analyzes those problems and use those same critical thinking skills in the real world. >> jennifer: so you are there and you also ran for student council as one of the outgrowths, perhaps of your confidence. why did you run for student council? >> i ran for student council because i was upset at what was
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taking place with the budget cuts, and i also wanted to help my fellow students and my school, and i felt like i could make such a great impact on a school -- on a school by -- by leading the school by being able to get things done for the school, you know, bring ideas and innovations to the school and that's why i ran for student president just to help people in my school building and i think that's important. >> jennifer: did you win? >> yes, i did. >> jennifer: that was the wrong question. this is a political show. we got to know if you are a winner. >> of course he did. >> jennifer: that's a very important fact. what grade are you in? >> i'm now in the 11th grade. >> jennifer: so you have a bright future, i assume what do you plan to do? >> i plan to finish high school first and foremost plan on going to college, plan on
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majoring in political science, another major in going on to law school, and there are so many opportunities i can do after that, but when i get up to that time i'll make that decision as to whether i'll push for a new career or become a lawyer -- >> jennifer: that's just what i was going to ask you. we want to know if you see senator in your future? >> you never know. [ laughter ] >> be ware i'm coming. >> jennifer: you are coming for us. [ laughter ] >> jennifer: katie what do you hope that your film is going to convey about the importance of programs like chess? >> yeah i think programs like chess and all after-school programs as many of us know unfortunately the first to be cut when there are budget cuts and there are really bad budget cuts happening at schools all across the nation now, and it's
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unfortunate, because i witnessed in making this film the impact that a program like chess can have on a kid's life. >> jennifer: from that what would you say knowing she wants the fill tom have an impact an after-school programs like chess, what have you learned through playing chess? >> i have learned three key aspects. the first thing i have learned from chess is to be patient is. and patience is something a lot of us are missing. the ability to wait and let things come to us second to be able to strategize to create a comprehensive plan to create an objection, if you are going on for president or getting a certain job or lose 20 pounds then you have to develop a strategy of how you are going to get there, and thirdly, i think
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is -- the third thing that i have learned from chess is -- is work ethic. and work ethic is very important, because i am a workaholic. >> jennifer: all right. fabulous, fabulous movie. fabulous message. the director and one of the stars, senator president, thank you so much for joining us. [ laughter ] >> thank you for having us. >> jennifer: all right. coming back fact checker has announced its lie of the year and the recipient of the award is well deserving and probably come as a surprise tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (vo) this friday current tv presents a special event. >> nobody knows disasters like comedians. that's why for my upcoming benefit for victims of hurricane sandy, i booked the strongest, smartest comics i could find. my comedian friends and i will raise money to rebuild homes and lives one laugh at a time. so tune in next friday for my all
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star comedy special. >> together we can get new yorkers back to yelling at strangers and ignoring our friends.
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[ male announcer ] red lobster's hitting the streets to tell real people about our new 15 under $15 menu. oh my goodness! oh my gosh this looks amazing! [ male announcer ] our new maine stays! 15 entrees under $15 seafood, chicken and more! oo! the tilapia with roasted vegetables! i'm actually looking at the wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce. that pork chop was great! no more fast food friday's! we're going to go to red lobster. yep. [ male announcer ] come try our new menu and sea food differently! and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99. salad, sandwiches, and more. but whether he's climbing everest, scuba diving the great barrier reef with sharks or jumping into the market he goes with people he trusts, which is why he trades with a company that doesn't nickel and dime him with hidden fees. so he can worry about other things like what the market is doing
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and being ready, no matter what happens which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense from td ameritrade. ♪ >> jennifer: all of this talk about the billionaires and back room deals and the fiscal cliff, and secrets in life got us a bit nostalgic for the heady days of mitt romney's presidential campaign, and we're not the only ones. polititfact produced its lie of the year award. they chose mitt romney's ad about jeep production moving
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